Yes, Social Jet Lag Is a Thing—Here’s Why You Need to Know About It

This scary condition could be seriously affecting your health.

Stokkete/Shutterstock, David-Tadevosian/ShutterstockDo you walk into the office every Monday with the words “I’m so tired” on the tip of your tongue? You may want to start rethinking those evening happy hours, because it could be a sign that you have social jet lag—and it can seriously affect your health.

If you’ve never heard of it, you should! Like the jet lag you feel when traveling, social jet lag refers to the disruption of your snooze cycle by staying out late on weekends and sleeping in the next morning. (That also explains why you can’t fall asleep on Sunday nights.) Sure, it’s no surprise that short-changing your weekend shuteye can throw off the week’s sleep schedule. But new research suggests that its consequences are way worse than initially thought.

According to a recent study published in the journal Sleep, adults suffering from social jet lag are 11 percent more likely to develop heart disease than their well-rested counterparts. On top of that, researchers linked the condition to increased moodiness, sleepiness, and fatigue. Each hour of lost sleep due to social jet lag decreases a person’s health, researchers say.

“These results indicate that sleep regularity, beyond sleep duration alone, plays a significant role in our health,” Sierra B. Forbrush, the study’s lead researcher, said. “This suggests that a regular sleep schedule may be an effective, relatively simple, and inexpensive preventative treatment for heart disease as well as many other health problems.”

To avoid becoming socially jet-lagged (on weekends or weekdays), the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends getting at least seven hours of shuteye each night. And if you still find yourself tossing and turning, this magical tip from sleep doctors could have you catching those Zzz’s in no time.

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